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Cress Carney v. State of Alaska

March 4, 2011

CRESS CARNEY,
APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF ALASKA, APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Superior Court, Third Judicial District, Dillingham, Fred Torrisi, Judge. Court of Appeals No. A-10348 Trial Court No. 3DI-06-612 CR

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bolger, Judge.

NOTICE

The text of this opinion can be corrected before the opinion is published in the Pacific Reporter. Readers are encouraged to bring typographical or other formal errors to the attention of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts.

303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Fax: (907) 264-0878

E-mail: corrections at appellate.courts.state.ak.us

OPINION

Before: Coats, Chief Judge, and Mannheimer and Bolger, Judges.

Cress Carney confessed to murder during an interview with the Dillingham police. He now argues that the investigating officers coerced his confession when they promised not to arrest him and promised not to tell others about what he admitted. He points out that we have suppressed confessions that were induced by similar promises of immunity. But despite the coercive potential of the officers' promises, the record demonstrates that Carney did not believe these promises and that Carney actually believed that he would be arrested and prosecuted for murder if he confessed. We accordingly conclude that Carney's confession was not induced by the officers' promises.

Background

Carney was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and tampering with evidence. He filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained from his first police interview, arguing that his inculpatory statements during that interview were involuntary. Superior Court Judge Fred Torrisi held an evidentiary hearing on Carney's motion.

At the hearing, the parties stipulated to the admission of Carney's criminal record that included thirty-three prior convictions over a twenty-year period. Carney also presented the testimony of an Anchorage Police Department officer who spoke with Carney in February 2004 about an attempted sexual assault. The officer testified that Carney had requested a lawyer after receiving Miranda warnings, and the officer had terminated the interview.

The State presented the testimony of Sergeant John Kirby of the Dillingham Police Department. Kirby testified that Natalia Timurphy was reported missing on September 12, 2006. Her body was discovered on September 28 in the Nerka Pit area near Dillingham. Kirby and Sergeant Dan Pasquariello were assigned to the investigation in early November.

Kirby testified that on November 13, he and Pasquariello stopped at a convenience store called the Bristol Express for a break. Carney came up to Kirby and asked about the Timurphy investigation. Kirby replied that Carney was about the twenty- first person on their list of witnesses to interview, and that they were currently on the eighteenth interview. Carney said that he would be available when the police were ready to talk to him.

On November 15, Kirby contacted Carney at the home of Jackson McCormick. Kirby asked if Carney was available for an interview and suggested that the interview could be at Carney's home, McCormick's home, or the police station. Carney said that he would call Kirby after he picked up his girlfriend, ...


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